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  CSPAN    Today in Washington    News/Business. News.  

    July 26, 2011
    2:00 - 6:00am EDT  

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it is not to proposals. that is not really fair. what is happening is very simple. there are 100 people in the house who do not care if we default, who are extreme and radiological -- ideological. you have not seen the house leadership resist that. that is the problem here. if you think it is even-steven to have a small group of extreme people drive the debate on the republican side and democrats should give in, that makes no sense. it is perilous to the country. those 100 people do not represent america. everything says that. >> could you show the president your plan last night at the white house? did he endorse that? >> my plan? >> this plan. >> did he endorse that?
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>> of course. >> maybe some of the centrist republicans -- >> senator mcconnell and i had many conversations over the weekend. >> did he get 60 votes for his proposal? >> i would hope so. we are giving them what they want. then we will have to see what the next step is. we will take them one at a time. >> something about having worked with leader kantor on the 300 to -- 302 allocations are being unable to -- is there a reason to suspect we will not have this same issue on september 30? >> in my legislation, we have the numbers. it is all done. we would have to freeze those for two years. thanks.
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> now we will hear from the senate budget committee ranking member, and jeff sessions. he spoke and the senate floor before senator reid officially brought the legislation to the floor. >> all year, we have conducted senate business with regard to the financial future of our country in the most troubling way, so far as i can tell. it is unlike anything we have done in our history. i would say from a structural, systemic circumstance this
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nation has never had a more serious debt problem. we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. yes, we do have a war going on that's costing $150 billion this year. the deficit this year will be $1.5 trillion. $1.5 trillion in deficit. it's not the war. it's only about 10% of our deficit, unfortunately. back in world wari, we could see our way out of the war and our victory, and we had great growth in the future. but the deficits we're accruing every day, every week, every month are significant because they're going to be hard to change. we're just spending more than we take in on a host of different programs, and we've got to change. and we can change.
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and if we do change and get this country back on a growth path, i think wll be in the right, rit way. so, i have repeatedly warned that by avoiding going through the budget process this year, a process ruired by law that this senate, under democratic leadership, explicitly refused to do. the marity leader said it would be foolish to have a budget. we're now about 820 days or so without a budget, over two years we've not had a budget for the united states of america, and they never even attempted to, even though a law says we should pass one by april 15. it doesn't put anybody in jail. maybe that's what it should have done. maybe a bunch of people would be in jail today. maybe we'd have a budget if we had some teeth in the act. but it's a statute of the united states that requires a budget.
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we've not done so. so then we begin to hear the warning six months ago that we would be reaching a point where we need to raise the debt limit, the debt ceiling that we have. congress h said, mr. president, you can borrow money but only so mh. you can't borrow more than the amount 14-some-odd trillion dollars. that's all. if you need to borrow more, congress will have to appropriate it. we have the power of the purse under the constitution. so this has been brewing. we've been heading to that. i've been warning since we haven't done our job, since the budget commiee hasn't met about these issues, the appropriations committee has not met abo these issues, the finance committee has not met about the tax, tax and mandatory entitlement programs that are under their jurisdiction; no work has been done all year. none. but we're told not to worry, our
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leaders are going to meet a few times in secret. and this little group failed. and this group with the vice president met, and tt didn't work. and then they're going to meet with the president, and that didn't work. and finally last night, as senator wicker said, it did appear an agreement was reached between the decratic leadership and the republican leadership on a bill that at least would get us past this debt crisis. so they had the leadership agreement. i haven't read it. i don't know what's in it. i'm going to want to know what's in the bill. i have a constitutional responsibility, as do the other 99, 98 senators here to make a good judgment on it. but it is odd that after all of that and a bipartisan agreement was reached, the president walked away from it. he's going to blame now speaker boehner who produced a budget? the republican house produced a
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far-reaching historic budget that would actually change the debt trajectory of our country, put us on the right path, the path t restoring prosperity, the creation of jobs because this debt is so large, it's a wet blanket aspeaker boehner said. i called it an anchor, a weight that is pulling down the economy because expert economists have told us so. experts say when you have this much debt, you lose a million jobs a year that would otherwise be created. so we've got a serious problem, and i'm not pleased about it. i just felt all along this is exactly what's going to happen, somewhere in the back of the minds of the president or the leaders or somebody was the idea that they would bring up a plan at the 11th hour, the 11th hour, 50th minute, bring it to the floor of the senate, say if you don't vote for it members of the senate, if you don't vote for it members of the house,
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we're going to have a debt crisis and it will all be your fault. well, i'm not in that. i'm not going toote for any kind of significant legislation as this is until i've had a chance to read it and think about it. and what's going to happen, i'm told, after the majority leader reid produced a one-page summary of his plan, this afternoon told us not to worry; he's got a one-page summary. trust us. he's going to introduce legislation tonight, and we'll vote wednesday morning. and it will be good for america. just do what i tell you and go along and mind your manners, and we'll get this thing taken care of. trust me. the american people have been trusting washington too long. the american people know there is no justification whatsoever in this coury that we are spending so much money at 40% of
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it has to be borrowed. they know better. they know we have no business spending $3,700,000,000,000 where we take in only $220,000,000,000. that's what happened in in last election. they say these tea party people, they are not good americans. they're angry. they're mad. that's not good. you're bad people. well, give me a break. if we d a recall election, we all ought to be voted out of office, i suppose. there's no way we should ever have been in this situation. so now under the pressure of the american people and fear of the next election, the president -- why did he reject this bipartisan agreeme? well, it would require us to
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meet again next year and talk about more cuts because the cuts they'realking about are clearly insufficient to meet the challenge we are facing today. clearly insufficient. we've got to do more. so if you run up your credit card too much and you hit the limit and you want the limit raised, the person who's loaning the money, the american people, would like it know, have you changed your habits, are you going to do better, let's see budget, a plan that gets us out of this fix. so that has been steadfastly rejected by the leadership in this senate all year, and we knew we were heading to this debate. -- to this date. senator reid has thrown something out there.
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let's talk about a little bit about what it appears that's in it. we've had -- the president has had a friendly press on most of the things that he's proposed. when he proposed a budget, the democratic senate never produced one but by law is to produce one. every pleas ha president has pde every year. the president produced one this year. the lowest annual deficit in that budget would be $740 billion. the highest deficit president bush ever had was $450 billion and he was criticized for that. the lowest he would have in ten years, $750 billion, d in the tenth year it's become over $1 trillion. according to the congressional budget office, analysis of his budget. that's where we're heading.
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that's the kinof thing that the president has submitted to us. and you know what he entad it? he said, i'm proud of my budget. it will have america living within its means. can you believe the president of the united states said that? that a budget that the lowest annual deficit would be $700-plus billion was living within our means? he said also, quote, "it would add no more to our debt." and his budget director, mr. lew, jack lew said the same thing. breath taking. so forgive me if i am a a not buying into a proposal on one page. it was produced this afternoon, said we're going to reduce the deficit by $2.7 trillion. forgive me if i'm not buying that that until i see it and it's been scored. that's what i think ought to
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happen here today. by the way, you've heard the debates, and speaker boehner used this phrase and others have used it, "we want to have dollar-for-dollar spending to debt reduction." and what in a means -- excuse me, a debt ceiling increase. twha means is, if you increase the debt ceiling and allow the government to borrow another $1 trillion, you should cut spending by $1 trillion. that's just a rough idea. i don't know how they came up with that. that's what they came up with. remember, the debt is still going up every year because we're still spending more than we take in. just remember, however, this is like wimp yivment in old popeye's cartoon.
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winpy said, give me a hamburger today and i will pay you tomorrow. "what this is is you're goingo get an immediate ability to borrow $1 trillion, $2 trillion more, raising debt limit that much on a promise that we'll reduce spending by that amount over ten years, not one year, ten years. so this is a dangerous process. this is the kind of rhetoric that's put us in the position that we are today that 40 cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed. it's what's threatening the financial future of our country, this kind of thinking in washington. and we've got to change it. we've got to get honest about our numbers and as the rank republican on the budget committee, i fl an obligation and our staff is eager to see the legislative language, not a one-page outline, about what will actually happen with our
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spending. we want to be sure that the promises made for this bill are more accurate than the ones president obama made what he said his budget would call for us to live within our means when it plainly does not. i'll just mention a couple of things at this point that jump out at me from the one-page outline that we've seen. majority leader reid talks about his plan would reduce spending by $2.7 trillion. but really it appears to represent a $1.2 trillion or so reduction in discretionary spending, and the rest of it is accrued by other -- in other ways. speaker boehner's proposal has a
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discretionary spending reduction of about the same, but what's obvious is that speaker boehne boehner's commission that would reduce spending more has a target, a goal, to reach an additional $1.8 trillion, whereas the points produced by senator reid mentions a commission, but it has no reduction required in spending as a part of the duty of that commission. they don't have any obligation to produce a reduction in spding. but what else is here? part -- the other factor is that we are now drawing down the cost of our military efforts in afghanistan and iraq. last year we spent a little over $150 billion. this year we'll spend a little over $100 billion. and the plan is to soon be down
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to at least $50 billion in two or three years. so over the ten-year period there'll be about eight years at nearly $50 billion or so spent on the war instead of $150 billion. that's part of thelan that we've been operating on for a long time. $150 billion for the w is not baseline expenditure of the united states. it was never projected to continue at that level, so hopefully we could bring it below $50 billion. maybe we went get to $50 billion. i don't know. but what is the reasonable estimate? i think the house republicans and the president said it would drop to $50 billion, and that would be the baseline out there for the rest of the time. that's $1 trillion. that's $1 trillion. so you take $1 trillion out of the $2.7 trillion, you're down
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to $1.7 trlion. and another thing that's scored in tt, since that $1 trillion in war costs is scored the way mr. reid scored that, which is phantom money, it is not a real reduction in baseline government spending. it's always considered toe extra war emergency spending. but he claims interest savings on this money. so another $200 billion. so now you got about $1.2 trillion right there overstating his cuts in the elimination of the war. speaker boehner does not do that. his numbers are far more accurate and honest and realistic, really the only way to properly account for them. another thing i would just point out is when you talk about spending and how you account for it, you have to know what the
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baseline is. one reason this country is broke and is in financial crisis is because we claim we're cutting spending when we're increasing spending. the way it works is, the congressional budget office produces an assumption that we will increase spend at the rate of inflation or some other rate over a period of years. and then if you reduce that re of increase a little bit, politicians claim they've made savings, they've cut spending. but spending is not cutting. spending is still going up. and there are various baselines out there about how to calculate this and it's very significant over ten and even more so over 20 years. so you hear people saying we're tting spending. under this plan that they're going to cut -- speaker boehner
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or senator reid, either one of those plans i am confident will show we are spending a good bit more moneyn the tenth year of their plan than we're spending today. and this is confusing to the american people. i'm really convinced that the only way we can honestly compare the plans is to go back to the basic -- the way families do. do you increase your spending or u don't increase your spending based on what you spent last year. and we have a flat level and how much do you increase it over one year, two years, ten years? how much does it go up? that would be the way to do it, and then you can compare plans. then you can see what senator boehner has, congressman ryan had in his budget plan for ten years, senator toomey proposed a very thoughtful ten-year budget plan, balanced our budget in ten years, not easy toad to do.
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he did it. we need forhinking like that. and get away from this confusing mishmash and claim that i'm saving $1rillion when nobody plans for us to be spenting $150 $150-plus billion on the war in iraq and afghanistan for the next ten years. that money has never been projected to be spent in that fashion. so, mr. president, we are in a situation where it's important for the country to reach an agreement. we need to pass something that raises the debt ceiling in america. i thiet say that, but that is -- i hate to say that, but that is a fact. it would be too disruptive not to do that. but, in exchange for that, as a part of that process, we truly
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need to start bringing our house into financial order. we are in disarray and disorder. if we were to do that, we can leave this a better country for our children and grandchildren. i know some just want to surge spending and then raise taxes to pay for it. defense department last year got about a 2% increase, 3% increase. next year it's projected about a 2% increase in some of the budget numbers. may well not happen because we don't have even that much money. but do you know how much non-defense discretionary spending increased during this time of record deficits under president obama's leadership? not counting the almost $900 billion in stimulus money, not
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counting that. baseline, non-defense discretionary spending increased 24% at a time we're suferght biggest deficits ever. president bush never had any increases in baseline spending like that. never. it's just stunning. we had a huge majority in the senate, huge majority in the house, the president wanted his investments, and he got these huge increases, and then they want to raise taxes to pay for it and keep it up there and maintain it. and we can't afford maintaining that kind level. we've got to bring it back down to 2009, 2008, 2007 levels. the country is not going to go bankrupt, broke, and people not going to be thrown into the streets if we make -- we return to those kind of levels of spending. and if repaycheck those tough choices like -- and if we make those tough choices like cities and families are doing autumn
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over america, we can get this house in order. that's what we're going to have to do. so i look forward to studying the plan put forward by the majority leader, the study -- the plan put forward by speaker boehner. the american people need time to know what's in it. what's in either one of them. what it's going to mean to us in terms of taxes and spending and deficits. interest raiments. and then congress needs to have ti to vote for it. and i again repeat my deep frustration that we have not conducted this in an open, public debate for months now utilizing the established senate procedure, the regular order but have attempted to solve this big problem in secret, behind closed doors with just a few people. i believe that is contrary to the historical understanding of the role of congress and i'm not
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happy about it, i oppose it a i object to it and i expect an appropriate amount of time to consider whatever plan comes ded women like them guard these hallowed halls. mr. president, some of those dedicated police officers stood guard saturday and sunday as we worked to reach an agreement to avert a default on our national debt. leaders from both parties were here throughout the weekend. differences still separate our two sides but work toward an agreement continues. this afternoon, i will put on the floor a proposal to -- that i hope will break that impasse. this legislation would put to rest the specter of default. it would cut $2.7 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. it would not raise any new revenue or make any cuts to medicare, medicaid or social security. all the cuts included in this package have previously been supported by republicans.
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the proposal provides everything the house republicans have said they needed for an agreement to avert default and cut the deficit. i hope my colleagues on the other side will still know a good deal when they see it. i hope they will remember how to say yes. the tea party-led house of representatives has held up a resolution of these negotiations for weeks because they didn't want oil companies, corporations to ship jobs overseas or millionaires and billionaires in their corporate jets to pay their fair share. if they now oppose an agreement that meets every one of their demands, it will be because they have put politics first and the good of this nation and economy last. i hope they will not continue to insist on the kind of short-term fix they opposed a few short weeks ago, and they know democrats in the senate will not pass and president obama will not sign. congress has already said a -- economists have already said a short-term solution is no solution at all. it will not give the markets the certainty they need.
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and the credit rating agencies have said a short-term band-aid could have many of the same effects as default, downgrade of u.s. debt, soaring interest rates and an effective tax increase for every american family and business. the financial markets don't trust the right-wing tea party-led house of representatives. they don't believe that they should hold this process hostage, and they don't want them to do it again in six months. we need to make the right decision now, and we need to do it because the economy is on the line. this is what an analyst said about a plan to avert default for only a few months. a two-stage plan is a nonstarter because we now know it's amateur hour on capitol hill and we don't wanted to be painted in the corner again. markets need certainty, mr. president. americans need certainty. the world needs certainty. an agreement that provides that
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certainty is within our grasp. democrats have done more than republicans -- i'm sorry, mr. president. democrats have done more than just meet republicans in the middle. we have met them all the way. now we'll see whether the republicans are against any agreement at all or will they remember how to say yes when the compromise on the table gives >> house democrats on the plan in the house and senate. this is a 35 minute news conference with remarks to reporters. >> we have seen more than 200 days of republican control in the house of representatives without a jobs agenda.
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every weekend that we go home and travel back to our respective districts, to hear what is on the minds of the citizens we are sworn to serve -- it is job creation. what do see is ongoing fear --
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theater. they see down here? what theythe theater that does d to be. we commend the president of the united states for continually reaching out to the other side, trying to get the congress to compromise. at each and every turn, they simply have said no. we continue to focus on what we believe the american people desire. that is to put them back to work. we cannot continue down this path. not only the world's economy, but the national economy, and the household economies of every american are being held hostage by the republican majority. it is time to pass the debt ceiling. get it done. to a clean debt ceiling and move on. deal with the intended issues. as we have presented time and again, this is necessary to deal with our debt. but let us be clear about this. 18 times under ronald reagan and seven times under george bush we passed a clean debt ceiling without any hostages, without any complications. yes, there were going to be differences. they were sorted through. what is really on american minds is putting them back to work. it can be said no better than what the constituents said to me in a letter. she said how can you not agree that this is comparable to a natural disaster, when individuals lives are at stake. it is as if you have left us to be swallowed by an abyss of our uncertainty. let us and the abyss of dark uncertainty. let us pass the debt ceiling. more importantly, let's put americans back to work. let's follow the lead of steny hoyer in making it in america up on jobs surrounded by innovation. at build the rest of the world and out educate the rest of the world. how can we do that? by making it here in america.
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>> in the last election, americans were very concerned. what they said is congress should pay attention to jobs and pay attention to the fiscal stability of our country. as the chairman of the caucus said, we have now been nearly seven months under republican leadership. all we have seen this fiscal irresponsibility and the ignoring of the jobs agenda. that is inconsistent with what the american people told us. the republicans repeatedly said that certainty and confidence are essential if we are when to grow jobs. not only do they have no jobs agenda, but they have undermined the very thing they talked about, as we see a nation roiled
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by concern. the time the united states has been under republican leadership -- they are refusing to come together and make a compromise to get our finances in order. make sure that america does not default on its debts. make sure that consumer loans do not go up, but for a one k retirement plans will not go down. major credit cards will still be usable. make sure the dollar in everybody's pocket is worth what it is today, and does not become devalued because of our inability to meet our responsibilities in america. the chairman talked about a make it in america agenda, about
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outbuilding, about educating, and and beating the rest of the world. we have seen a breakdown on responsible compromise. it has undermined our ability to compete with the rest of the world and has undermined the world's confidence in america. the public, the citizens, the voters, whether they be young or old, working investments -- working americans and investing americans, are upset by the failure of the house of republicans to come to grips. we have offered a make it in america agenda. we're going to make it in america if we have sound finances, job-focused legislation, and a sense that we are coming together, that we can
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be adults and move this country forward. i am hopeful that we do that. we democrats are going to be focused on fiscal responsibility, bringing our debt down, bringing our deficit down, and creating jobs with the naked in america agenda. i am not pleased to yield two my very close, dear friend from south carolina, the assistant leader of the house of representatives, chairman james cleverness of south carolina. --- clyburn of south carolina. >> thank you. i just rush to from the airport. i just came in from south carolina. last week, we saw the unemployment pick up to 10.5%.
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the congressional district i represent, i have unemployment over 20%.
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one of them is that 25%. those are question numbers. -- crushing and numbers. -- crushing numbers. people are looking to us for leadership. the one certainty in their lives. they have indicated that if we fail to lift the debt ceiling,
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not only will it be catastrophic for us as a nation, but the state of south carolina will be one of five states that will see a downgrading in their credit rating. in fact, we have an infrastructure back in south carolina. it means the arms required to fund that infrastructure bank at our community levels -- we will see the cost of those bonds going up. i come today to join with my colleagues in saying to my friends on the republican side it is time for us to find common ground. we have competing proposals from the democrats in the senate and republicans in the house. it is time for us to meld the proposals, find common ground, lift the debt ceiling. let us restore stability in the lives of our citizens. with that, i am pleased to bring up my longtime friend and classmate. >> thanks, jim. let me join with the house democratic leadership and every one of my colleagues that is here today to say we recognize that the biggest deficit this country faces is a jobs deficit. the sooner we put americans back to work, and thereby paying taxes, the quicker we get this economy going. the president knew this very well. the month he was sworn into office, given the keys to the white house by george bush, 790,000 americans lost their jobs. we all got busy. the president worked with democrats in congress to pass a recovery package that would help americans stay in their job. it affected 3.5 million americans.
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he started to see americans going back to work. a quarter of a million americans started going back to work on a monthly basis. but the minister to to see the games being played in washington, d.c.. guess what? the economy started to slow down. today we are seeing is that gamesmanship has its cost. we want to get past this issue so america can pay its bills. never before as this country fell to pay its bills. there are jobs that will not be produced because the markets will not have the confidence to produce that extra product. the will not have the confidence to go out and manufacture. what we are here to say is that it is time to stop the gamesmanship. it is time to put americans back to work. it is time for our republican
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party's -- colleagues to stop leaving the negotiating table. it is time to do what americans do every time they sit at the table. let us do it together. there is no reason to cost other americans their jobs. we urge our republican colleagues to join the president, to not leave the table and reach a solid agreement on behalf of the american public. with that, and when to turn it over to a woman who has been a leader in the democratic caucus and the jobs task force for some time, and that is congresswoman betty sutton from ohio. >> think he's so much. here we are, 200 days into the republican-led congress, and still no plan to create jobs in america. why is that? they have been busy. they have been busy defending tax breaks for big corporations and the super rich.
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they have been busy trying to cut medicare and social security. they have even been busy trying to get rid of energy efficient light bulbs. we have been busy focusing on what the american people need, priority number one, making sure there are secure and solid jobs out there for the american people to work. that is where our priorities must lie. those of us who have been working to create jobs in manufacturing -- we know it is important this is a country that makes things, that takes something of lesser value and turns it into something of greater value, creating real value for our country, strengthening our economy, strengthening our national security, and delivering to the american people what this country stands for. we have been busy standing up for small business owners and fighting for common-sense ways to correct our fiscal problems. as you heard today, we
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understand that it is so critically important that americans have the opportunities to work, that that is a key to solving our long-term deficit problem. here we are today to invite once again our republican colleagues to join us and to answer the call of that sign that says we want jobs, we want jobs. that is what the people i represent want. that is what we on the stage here today are here to call for. join with us. help us solve the challenges that face us as a country. help us put america back to work. with that, i want to introduce to you our leader on the budget committee. he has been in there fighting the fight, representative chris and holland. >> thank you for oyer leadership. the american people deserve better than what we are seeing.
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as my colleague said, we have been in the republican controlled congress and have seen 0 legislation on creating new jobs. what they are doing right now threatens the financial system of the united states. republicans are taking the position that unless they get things 100% their way, they would prevent the company from changing their bills. -- from paying their bills. that is what they will do if they do not get their way. their latest is as bad as things are, as much uncertainty as there is today, let us just lift the debt ceiling until december or january. let us put the country six
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months from now in exactly the same position. americans need to understand that is a choice. they do not have to choose to put the economy in the same uncertain position. they want to do that in order to extract concessions to get things to go their way. they may continue to choose to try to do with the deficit only by cutting deep into things like education, medicare, medicaid, and at the same time protect access for special interests and the voters of the very top. that is their choice. our choice is very different. let us not cut transportation funding by 35%, which is what their bill would do.
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i am really pleased with my colleagues are here. thank you for coming together to put together a jobs agenda to show the differences between what the parties are proposing. with that, i want to introduce someone who has been a great champion of the working people. another champion of the working people, and kids. >> thank you very much. >> we need to make sure we pass job-creating legislation, instead of being mired in political games.
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we have an agenda under the umbrella of making it in america. this is legislation i have championed for a long time. my colleague mr. cliburn part about what south carolina is doing. other states are doing this. europeans are doing this. china is spending 9% of its gross domestic product on rebuilding. in the a 5%. the united states to%. -- india 5%. we need a national infrastructure bank. could have broad bipartisan support. it could help close the gap we need to restore roads, bridges, water systems, energy, telecommunications. allow us to build the 21st century and the structure. create jobs.
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jobs cannot be outsourced. help develop technology for the future. it is on the cutting edge of the technology once again. good jobs, well paying jobs, jobs one more time. we are a nation that consumes today. let us introduce legislation. american families are struggling today. we do not have the luxury for political games. that will create the jobs and rebuild america.
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>> thank you very much. the progressive caucus has been up until now on a five city tour. we have invited the local communities to come and talk to us about jobs and about what they see the american dream being. these are heart wrenching, very serious, anguished discussions. they involve the unemployed, the underemployed, and people looking for work who cannot find it. i would suggest to my republican colleagues that they need to listen to the american people. they need to have a jobs agenda. they need to look carefully as they slash the budget about what it means. $100 million cut from medicaid? that translates into 800,000 to
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a million jobs. the jobs agenda has to be number one. the way to begin to do with the debt is to put americans to work so they can help us get ourselves out. think you and me now introduce the chairwoman. >> national unemployment is at 9.3%, but for pacific islanders it is 13.2% and for some loans is 17%. asian-americans stay unemployed more than -- longer than any other ethnic group. job growth should be a top priority,none of them.
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they in fact tried to put 2 million americans out of work. but republicans are not getting the message. in 200 days they passed 81 bills. how many of those of created jobs? now with the difficult negotiations, they are holding america's economy and the american people hostage to their agenda of tax cuts to the rich to help corporations. new house leaders that create jobs. we need strong house leaders who will truly do something about the economy, not just the rich. now i have the pleasure of introducing my esteemed colleague, the chair of the new democrats. >> 100 days ago today, i stood on the floor and a first speech in reaction to the lack of any jobs bill in the first 100 days of congress. today, i have no tabulated board to tear away. more importantly, today i am dumbfounded. i am dumbfounded we are not 200 days into this congress and have not had a single bill on the floor that would create a single job in this country. my question today is mr. speaker
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where is the jobs bill. your caucus ran on creating jobs, yet not one single bill in 200 days of congress to create a single job. i hear the american people asking for jobs. i hear it in my district. i hear it in washington. i hear it across this country. my colleagues are hearing it from the american people. they are asking for jobs that pay well, with pensions. as the chair of the democratic coalition, we believe in innovation. we believe in investing in our infrastructure. we believe in investing in education. and we believe in making it in america. we call upon our colleagues and republicans down the aisle not to lead us to the brink of disaster. we simply cannot stand by and see what happens if we do not pass a debt ceiling increase. i do not want to be around to see what might happen. we in government should not be playing those kinds of games. we should be doing the business people have sent us to do. that is to pass the debt ceiling and start focusing on put americans back to work. with that, i would like to introduce my good friend from new mexico. >> thank you. a lot has been said already. but it is so sad that after 200 days we have yet to see any commitment from our republican colleagues to job creation, any notion of what we can do to embrace what america has always done well -- innovation, making
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sure we continue to invent, manufacturing. we mature technology and discrimination. coming from a state with national laboratories and great research space, but we cannot believe that republicans would continue to slash and burn, with this idea that we cannot close the loopholes that take jobs out of america, rather than incentivizing these companies to come back to the country. you can make it in america. you can put people back to work. across mexico and all across america, unemployment rates are heading hispanics and native americans. it is time to wake up to our republican colleagues. listen to the american people and make sure we get some job creation back. it has gone long enough. let us make sure with -- we are doing what we can to get people
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back to work. >> i would like to thank the chairman for organizing this and recognize and, as all democrats do, that this is a three legs to will -- legged stool to respond to our challenges. we need to cut spending, raise revenues, and create jobs. but no jobs bill has gone to the floor. instead of giving incentives and tax breaks to companies to move jobs overseas, we should be giving tax breaks and incentives to companies that bring jobs back or grow jobs here in america. we need to find common ground on this debt crisis situation. it is causing insecurity.
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it is causing a lack of moving forward with businesses. if you are a business and do not know whether or not they are going to raise the debt ceiling, you would not go out and hire people. you would not grow your business. we need to find common ground, make a decision, avoid default, and start thinking about the future, investing in the future -- in transportation and education. we need to solve this and move forward. the republican idea of having a series of default votes is just plain wrong, and will hinder our already fragile economy. we need to invest in the future. we need to solve this default crisis and make jobs and jobs creation for the american people our number one priority. thank you. >> thank you very much. i am very pleased to stand with those in the democratic leadership and members that
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believe in me -- in representing the people. i want to thank chairman lawson and all of the democratic leadership. i want to thank president obama and chief of staff haley for being on the phone, talking to market leaders to assure them we are going to get this happening and make a right. we all want no default. i want you to look at this party, the democrats, as the protector of the most honorable. that is why we are helping the
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vulnerable, protecting medicare, social security, and medicaid. i would simply say go get o'clock and be here about talking -- talking about hoping americans, reminded of the gap in decision on the bush bailout that we were required to do to save our financial stability about two or three years ago. just imagine on august 2, when no adult shows up, and the hard- working american 401k begins to lose first eight trillion dollars, then $2 trillion,, and it keeps going up and up. that is why we are calling upon every leadership member around. is deemed colleagues, do not walk out of other meetings. stand as adults and let us fix this problem. anyone who does not understand why we do not need to move on short term -- watch that clock come up april or march and go into this debate again. most americans do not know about the debt ceiling, but they know about loss of jobs. they know about their families not being able to survive. this is what we are standing here for today. i am glad to stand with my colleagues, supporting jobs and protecting the most honorable americans. -- and vulnerable americans. >> we have heard from a number of leaders. the bottom line is this. we cannot default on the american economy. we should not be defaulting on american jobs. on this floor, in the meetings that should be taking place in the caucus, we are talking about job creation. with that, we will take a couple
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of comments. >> [inaudible] we ought to texaco if it is hardly political at all. a as i said in myall opening comments, the lady who said to me that she feels she is in a dark abyss -- and he that is the situation she is currently in. this is a manufactured crisis to the extent that the debt ceiling, which has traditionally been lifted for president reagan, for president bush, for president clinton, is being held hostage to a republican ideological agenda of saying they want the cuts in social security and medicare, and in other programs, because of the problems we find ourselves in with the debt. we acknowledge there are problems that exist with the national debt. but we further say why are you putting it at the feet of the american people, and the core programs they come to depend on in these difficult times, as
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well as create the kind of anxiety that exists around the globe, in this nation, and now adding that to the household concerns the every single american is having a discussion over, as republicans play high theater and beat the clock here in washington.
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""washington journal" continues. host: the former u.s. comptroller general and now founder and ceo of the comeback american initiative, david walker print a good morning. forve said it is a bad idea the congress and president to flirt, so to speak, with the august 2nd deadline of hitting a possible debt default. what do you think is going on right now and are concerned there is not a deal in place yet? guest: i am concerned. if everybody is true to their word, and congressional leaders of both parties and the president, they will reach a deal at the last minute. they have all made a commitment to the american people that they will raise the debt ceiling and not the fall. what we're seeing now is they're coming down to the 11th hour, which i think is inappropriate,
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but typical for washington. the democrats are trying to get as good of the deal as they can and so are the republicans. if they do not reach a deal, they should be held accountable. it is irresponsible not to raise the debt ceiling limit. at the same time, we need to start putting our finances in order. host: has seven in the economic fallout, do have concerns a deal has not been reached -- has there been an economic fallout, anti you have concerns the deal is not been reached? guest: callers have already started to adjust their behavior. if enough people start to do that, it could have an economic and pack. i think the markets have not reacted to an extensive because they believe the elected officials will deliver on their commitment, that there will be a deal. here is the key. it is not just a matter of raising the debt ceiling limit. it is whether or not they do something meaningful to demonstrate to the credit rating
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agencies, to the farm lenders, and the american people that they will start taking steps to put our finances in order because they are out of control right now. host: i'm going to read from an abc news piece online. some people can leaders are doubtful armageddon-like consequences will come to pass. they say they're not afraid of the deadline. republican allen west put it, or in the words of jim jordan, ohio, it is not like the world in august 2nd. what is your interpretation of this message? other house republicans have echoed the opinion there is nothing to be concerned about. what is your message to them? guest: the truth is, nobody knows for sure what will happen if the largest economy on earth, the world's temporary superpower, 60% of the currency, has a technical default and has
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to decide which bills it will pay in which it will not pay. filipinos. the fact is, those statements are totally irresponsible. when the world would you want to pay with a tactical nuclear weapon? that is what we're dealing with. we do not know what will happen if it goes off. at least we are experimenting with real nuclear weapons but we have not experimented with this. those statements are irresponsible. host: david walker is our guest. here are the phone numbers to call to join the conversation -- host: if you manage to get through on the funds, turn down your tv. -- if you manage to get through, turn down your tv. david walker, what is the
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scenario you like to see happen next couple of weeks? you have laid out some possible ideas, some solutions to this situation. what would you ideally like to see happen? guest: i think we have to be realistic with regard to what can happen before the 2012 election. both parties have a different view about how to put our nation's finances in order. right or wrong, significant number of republicans have taken the pledge dealing with taxes. interestingly, we can achieve comprehensive tax reform that will end up generating more revenues as part of running the base, lowering rates that will generate more revenues and not violate that pledge. but we cannot do that before the 2012 election. we're going to have to reach an agreement to increase the debt ceiling limit, hopefully, enough to get is passed the 2012 election. in exchange for specific cuts
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that will equal or exceed that. we cannot please get $1 trillion at of defense over the next 10 years, at least $1 trillion out of health care and other expenses including interest expense, and lots of ideas are laid out in restoring fiscal sanity report. ultimately, we will mean more revenue. those revenues will have to come as part of comprehensive tax reform. realistically, that will not happen until after the 2012 elections. host: in coming from twitter. guest: we do talk about drawn down forces in southwest asia to 45,000 of the end of 2014 under a pre-emptive scenario. if a of a debt crisis, we will have to draw down a lot faster. we could save a lot of money
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from reducing our presence in southwest asia. but the pentagon has become a bloated bureaucracy. it has a tremendous amount of overhead. there are a number of other ideas that would allow us to be of a cut tremendous sums from defense without compromising national security. >host: republican line, north carolina. caller: i would love for everyone to go out there today and bought the book by ann rand in 1957, depicting a exactly what is happening today. if you keep penalizing the producers, the ones supplying the jobs, penalizing the producers, there is not going to be any more money to do anything with. people are not going to be able to survive to get food to anything.
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people that are not producing keep having a hand out. if you keep giving it to those in penalizing the producers, then the producers are going to end up with their hand out. they're going to be stricken with their hands tied. guest: the me come back if i can. i'm familiar with the book. it has been read by millions of people. it is a very interesting book. i guess the issue, let's touch on the tax aspect read it right now, 51% of americans do not pay any income taxes. they pay payroll taxes. the problem is, this peril taxes are not adequate to fund medicare, social security. you cannot have in a democracy and majority of americans growing not contrary to the constitutional rules of the federal government. the median tax rate is 18.8%
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grid that is how warren buffett secretary and the pain more tax rate than him rich his income comes primarily through capital gains, which is taxed at 15%. in this report, we talk about how to engage in comprehensive tax reform that will improve economic growth, and hence our posture, whichever one is contending a fair share to generate more revenue. that is very important read by the way, it would not violate the tax pledge, although, i believe such pledges are totally inappropriate and should be rescinded and rejected. host: we're talking with david walker. without reforms by 2012, will only cover social security, medicare, medicaid and interest on the debt.
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2046, revenue will not even cover interest costs. we can see last year and 2022 and 2046. you can see the time line or the revenue is an honor the things that have to be spent for and money is allocated to. let's go to a comment on twitter. if we had a downgrade, would it be that bad? we would only be downgraded to aa rating that is still a pretty good bond rating, in my book. what do you think, mr. walker? guest: we would have to pay higher interest rate, but how much higher would they be? you just saw that graf that showed under our present pact based on historical levels of revenue about 18.2% of the economy, the only thing we could pay for in 2046 based on the current pact is interest. that is without a significant increase in interest rates. by now we have historically low interest rates, but that could change dramatically if our
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credit rating changes. for everyone% increase, 100 basis points, about $150 billion a year in interest. what you get for that? as we say in the south, shinola. nothing. host: we go to the democrat line. caller: first of all, i am truly upset. if i do not talk intelligently, please, excuse me. greed, greed, greed. the rich and powerful are getting rich and powerful. the rich and powerful are hellbent on destroying this country because of the fear of losing their money. we should raise their taxes on their rich. i am paying taxes big time on my life. the thing is, i am so upset with the ignorance, with the calls that come in. it is devastating to say the
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rich are helping the poor to get jobs is absolutely ludicrous. i am so upset because there is a goal to tear down the little guy. of course the goal is to destroy obama, which is unspeakable. the middle class and the poor are suffering. all because of money. money, money. that is what is so upsetting to me. guest: there is absolutely no question there is a growing gap between the haves and have-nots in the world and the u.s. as well. it is not just an issue of wealth. it is also an issue of education. important, the comprehensive tax reform that is outlined in the comeback america restoring fiscal sanity report under both from march would end up resulting with everybody and that making more than a stated percentage will pay something.
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those who end up having more and make more will pay more. we will have an even more progressive tax system. but the way we do it is through comprehensive tax reform that will end up making sure we equate taxes on labor, with taxes on capital. we will have a more economic system that is more vibrant and will stimulate economic growth and generate more revenues at historic levels. host: maryland, independent line. caller: social security is overrated. if you want to be poor, make your plans to live on social security. i have social security, 7.6% of my income a whole life. the other is a vanguard account.
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we pay 10,000 a year on vanguard. we have it for eight years. with all of the recessions, we got $1 million. we have been using that for 10 years. we did it ourselves with the difficulty. on the other hand, we put in about $300,000 to the federal government -- a pension plan is when you put your money into overtime, it grows. when you allow the government to take over your retirement, you get what you deserve. that is a threat with the president of the united states saying, we may not be able to give you your money. we have been hoodwinked.
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guest: a couple of key points. social security is not a pension system. it is a show shall insurance system where there are survivors benefits. it was never intended to be the sole form of retirement income. it was intended to be a foundation. like with a house, you have to add to the foundation to have a habitable drill -- dwelling. over 56% americans rely primarily on social security. it is paying out more than it is being paid into. it can be made solvent come sustainable, indefinite leave.
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we did that by laying out of this report in fiscal insanity. -- fiscal sanity. the younger you are, the better off you are financially. we need to get our savings rate up. pension plans, other vehicles. we need to move through some type of universal savings arrangement, because the system we have now is not working. host: the founder and ceo of the combat americas initiative. -- come back america initiative. new york, republican line, joining the conversation. caller: thanks for taking my
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call and thinks mr. walker for his years of service that has had an impact on some aspects of american life. the question i want to pose to him is that, one of the reasons i believe congress, senate, and the presidents are having a problem developing a consensus on this issue is that they cannot send the debt ceiling without addressing structurally to some aspects of the deficit in terms of how we are going to pay for it. i believe the rating agencies have sat with both the senate and house of representatives lives -- they can extend the debt ceiling without addressing the deficit in a meaningful way that they could still risk having the country's credit rating fallaway. is that true? guest: that is true.
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there are two issues. raising the debt limit. they have to recognize the u.s. garment spent $4 billion a day more than it has taken in. what is going to be done in conjunction with raising the debt limit. we have to demonstrate that we now know we are living beyond our means. we will take steps to put our finances in order. we cannot spend billions of dollars a day more than we take in without having a day of reckoning. we need to do something meaningful. we have to recognize what we are doing now versus what we are doing later like social insurance reforms. we have to recognize that some things will not be able to be done until after the election.
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comprehensive health care reform -- we have to engage american people with the tough choices. they deserve to know and to hear what the proper path forward is. host: would it be less contentious if we had not entered an election year? is the political element heightening this here? guest: no question. close margins in the house and senate. they want to keep the house. president obama wants to get to be elected. republicans want a republican elected. there are pressures on the right
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into the left. never say never. it is fine to make a commitment to one's constituents, but to take a pledge to special interest groups on the right or the left is inappropriate. there is a reason why we have this stalemate. we are headed off a cliff if we do not change course. host: next caller. caller: i am very angry with boehner. republicans are stalling the economy under this president so they can make sure they have the voters so frustrated so that they be elected the same bunch that put us out in this heavy
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deficit situation right now. they are using the port to play political games with that this president and cutting back is to lay off people to cause unemployment to go up, cutting important programs and social organizations that we need to make unemployment go up. they are using the american public naiveness. barack obama came to the meeting table several times. when he tries to give them what they want, they say no.
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host: she brought up raising taxes on the wealthiest americans. guest: i understand that you are upset. many americans have gone from concern to discussed. the american people are smarter than people give them credit for. if it looks like one party is disproportionately responsible, and we do have a u.s. debt crisis, they will be held accountable at the polls. it is important that we work together to reach a reasonable compromise, because all of us will be affected one way or the other. our fiscal situation is so challenging that he will not solve the problems by taxing the rich. if you look at our total liabilities, retiree health care, contingencies, medicare, social security, all of these things -- as of september 2010,
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we were in a $61 trillion whole. that is over $500,000 per household. you could eliminate all of the bush obama tax cuts, you could end up eliminating all congressional earmarks and eliminate all foreign aid, which people think is a big number, but it is not. that is about 20% of the problem. the government has grown too big, promised to much, which did too long to restructure. we will have more revenues, but we need to go about it in an intelligent way to make our system simpler, fairer, more competitive and will promote job growth and innovation. under the comeback american initiative, there is an additional money for helping the
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economic recovery and deal with unemployment. the less spending reductions of the next few years is over $3 trillion. if we do not put our finances in order, we will have a lot bigger problems in the future. >> congress should be fired if they cannot reach a deficit deal according to senator warner. you started off this segment same congress needs to take action. there is a problem with their effectiveness. a but point to you think congress will be fired? guest: the american people
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decide whether or not to read- hire another member of congress. we have another election coming up in november 2012. no deal, no pay. they are one of the first ones to get cut off, because they are not doing their job. and no retroactive pay either. we have to open the recognize that both political parties are responsible for where we are. spending has been out of control, especially since 2002. we have made more promises than we can afford. very few tax cuts pay for themselves. we need election reform. we need denigrated and --
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integrated reform and term limits. we do not need career politicians that are more concerned about getting reelected and doing their job. >> you may run for office in the state of connecticut. are you looking at that possibility? among those pushing you to run is the national republican senatorial committee. why would you run? guest: i was an independent -- i am an independent and was a republican prior to that. i do not like politics or career politicians. my view is our country is at a critical crossroads. the decisions that need to be made will determine our country's future and whether the
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future for my grandchildren and others will be better in the past. i have ticket -- decide if i will dedicate the rest of my life to this type of public service. i am thinking about it, but i am not going to rush into any decisions. host: your political alignment has changed over the years. you have taken a break from one political party. how would that affect your run and where would you sit? guest: i was born and raised in alabama and florida. if you were a democrat, you were disenfranchised, because of the elections were decided in the primaries. i went from being a conservative democrat to a moderate republican. i was ahead of the wave.
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in a job, you had to be independent. i decided to become an independent. i remained one when i left that job, because it has put me in good stead. i have been able to deal with republicans and democrats. many americans are independent. you do not have to run with one of the parties or you could run as an independent and with one of the parties. i would have to decide that down the road. host: david walker is president and ceo of the comeback america initiative. he served as the comptroller general of the united states and head of the u.s. government accountability office for almost 10 years.
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let us go to massachusetts on our independent line. caller: thank you, mr. walker. you have talked so much common sense this morning. i do feel from what i have been listening to that republicans have been for tax reform. i am very frightened with what i hear. all i hear is about of class warfare around a blame game. i think both parties are totally responsible for where the country is today. i do not think singing who did what will solve anything. we need a wake-up call in this country. american people better wake up. we are in serious trouble. host: what do you think it is going to take? caller: we need to cut our
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spending. the american people will have a hard lesson to learn. we are spending too much money. guest: i agree with you 110%. both political parties are responsible for where we are. we can blame a lot of people, but it is sought. to be productive. we need to recognize reality. the government has promised to much, grown into big, which it long to respond, spent more than it has. we need to make sure that we discharge our constitutional responsibilities, have a sound in some credible safety net for those that truly need it, while doing things to grow our economy, make sure people pare their fair share with regard to taxes. that is what restoring fiscal
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sanity and this free market does. republicans are for comprehensive tax reform, and so are democrats. we will do a comprehensive tax reform, but not get it until after the 2012 elections. we can do it in a way that would make our situation better. we have a spending revenue problem. we need to start soon to make these tough choices so the american economy can work for us and not against us. > host: a question on twitter. instead of paying 6%, we may play 22%. -- pay 22% if we fail. could that change the bond rating? guest: it is not going to take that dramatic a decline on the
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first step. we are not saying 6% now. that is what the scary situation is. we have historically low interest rates. people are not buying our bonds. we can sell short-term debt, because it is still a safe investment relatively. investment rates go up and we will feel it very quickly. we have a lot in these low rates over a long term. that is the risk. our risk could be downgraded if we raise the debt ceiling limit and does something credible to demonstrated that we will start putting our finances in order,
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dealing with out-of-control spending and other expenditures. host: john, republican caller. >> i see your point of a few my question -- i see your point of view. what can be done to rebuild the small business of america under 500 employees. i think that is the key to revenue. i do not worry about big corporations. congress has been irresponsible. they have permitted wall street to be the same, during the last 10 years or maybe prior to that
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as well. how important do you think it is if you believe it is? thanks. guest: small business is the engine of innovation, growth, and job creation in the united states. one of the things we have to recognize is we need to provide for certainty with regard to our tax laws, regulatory structure, and we do not have either one right now. the u.s. government needs to do a lot more to help small business with regard to exports. major corporations do not have a problem. they do not need help. small businesses do. we can learn from japan actively partners with business to
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promote japanese products and exports, even in a free-trade world. there is a lot more we should be doing to stimulate that part of the economy. host: bipartisan trio says tax or 0 -- they are offering a tryst on the chronic funding problem. bill bradley, and our guest, david walker, says levin taxes on oil would drive down oil contentions. set the scenario for us. guest: this is an example of how the federal government has gotten totally out of control. i partnered with former senator bill bradley, a respected republican that is a former
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governor, to talk about non- partisan solutions that can get bipartisan support. the structure is deteriorating dramatically. i live in connecticut. i can literally run faster than that train goes between new york city in the stamford conn.. most of our investments is not based on economic situations. the so-called trust fund that was supposed to fund our surface transportation is dry. we now are generally -- if you look at other countries, every other country into having a self sustaining critical infrastructure system. the plan for making investments
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is based on natural considerations plaint -- planned well in advance. so you can plan intelligently that will stimulate growth and stimulate jobs. we need to learn from others. this is a comprehensive plan to put us on a more sustainable path. it is an example of what needs to be done, because the u.s. government is largely based on the 1950's. the world has changed a lot since then. host: democratic caller, boynton beach, florida. caller: we seem to be spending quite a bit of mining on students' education, but they are not prepared, and they do not have a good life skills. they claim they do not have enough skilled workers.
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they encouraging education by providing grants, assistance, and money. we also hear there are some states where people are paying for the busing of their children. this is supposed to be part of the education process. people are being put upon so severely to pay for things that citizens are paying for through their taxes. they are claiming they do not have enough skilled workers, and they keep bringing people into this country from other countries to do jobs that our own citizens should be able to do. about this. talk there are two systems in the united states where we spend
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double per person as compared to the average for industrialized nations, and we get an average results. we spent double per person and we get below average results. k through 12th education and health care. the system is broken. you cannot throw more money at a system where you are spending double and not kidding result and expect things to change. we cannot compete on wages. we have to compete on a scale, -- skill, innovation, and those types of things. the world is moving to an economy based on brains. we need to have several paths. some of our students, no matter what their gender or race or ethnicity will not go on to college.
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others will be trained in trades. we need to do a better job in financial literacy. other sectors should be doing more. we should have more charitable contributions the truth is, the not-for-profit sector is going to be more important as remove afford and as the government restructures. host: here is a list of the fiscal fitness index. the united states is 28 on the line. what can the u.s. one from these other countries? guest: we can learn a lot.
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we are not as great as we think we are. we have lost our way. we have a tendency to think that we cannot learn and not from others. that is flat wrong. australian, is zealand, sweden, have risen to these challenges. we need to learn from others and from history. a travel over 90 countries around the world it has been part of my makeup to look to others to learn the positives and avoid the negatives.
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host: san diego, independent caller. caller: thank you for your service. you are very smart. i would love in your thoughts on various industries. did they give aig a triple a rating and then the next day went bankrupt. i would love your opinion on those people. guest: the credit rating agencies perform a very important function. they do a better job with regard to the private-sector than the public sector. there have been notable exceptions. there were a variety of instruments that were directly contributed to the sub-prime crisis that happened back in 2008. here is what is important.
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a disconnect between who is benefiting and who is going to pay the price as the bubble burst, not enough transparency in, too much debt, not enough focus on cash flow. failure to act until a crisis is at their doorstep. there are a lot of similarities. credit agencies are starting to step up to the plate. there are starting to recognize interest rates to a greater extent. they are starting to do a better job. you have to understand what they do. they do not consider off-balance sheet obligations. if you are a foreign investor, they do not consider currency risk at all. understand what they're basically saying.
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i do not think we will default. we are on an unsustainable path to threaten the future of this country and the role of americans. we need to focus on it. host: sold.books are host: images all over the papers today of same-sex marriage. yesterdayas the first day it could happen in york.
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guest: it is very significant for new york and same-sex couples, and the country. same-sex couples can marry in the district of columbia as well. it is incredibly significant. the images we see of loving couples waitingn line to join an institution really sends a signal, not just to people in york coming into the gay and lesbian community, but people all around this country that equality is what the country is built on. host: what do you think of about this in other states such as maryland. is what is happening in the york
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influential? guest: what happens in new york last month -- yesterday was the first day marriage licenses could be issued to same-sex couples. it sends a signal to other states that are contemplating moving on same-sex marriage in maryland on friday, new york was moving toward issuing same-sex marriage licenses. gov. martin o'malley made a bold statement saying he is redoubling his efforts and is caing on the community and the state legislature to move to pass same-sex marriage a legislation.
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other states are commenting proactive measures and ballot initiatives like minnesota. host: comments from the new york, the post standard. it says in new york, same-sex couples will be married and will have benefits under state law including health insurance. as they cross acrosshe border to pennsylvania, their marriage is not valid. how significant and far-reaching it if other states want to fully recognize this? guest: it overwhelmingly says that while couples may be able to get mared, but they could
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be denied. survivor benefits, health insurance, pensions, lots of things that couples enjoy that same-sex couples are denied. in choosing certain marriages over others to promote and a disregard is under equal about the denial of benefits. it is whathe repeal of defense of marriage act is all about. as we see more and more states taxing same-sex marriage legislation, insuring that there should be equal befits for same-sex couples, these are the qualities we see.
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only 5 percent side of couples lived in stateshere there was some kind of recognition with new york same-sex legislation -- now 46% that have some sort of benefits. when people say this is a quality moving, it is exactly right. host: she has served 11 years as a political director and the first vice-president of the human rights campaign foundation. a a big picture at the top of the new york times today. mayor bloomberg officiating at the wedding of two of his staff members with their families there. how significant is this to see a photograph of two men getting
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married by the mayor of new york city on the front page of the new york times? on one hand it is an incredible marker of how far we have come. gracie mansion is the ceremonial home -- it sends an increble signal to new yk but around the world. when you look at the polls, many support same-sex marriage today when the defense of marriage act was passed into law. it may never have been contemplated many years ago, but it seems like it shld happen.
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there were arguments about whether marriage equality was the right thing to do. what is significant about the new york is it is the first state where -- people look at the polling. they look at it by a margin of 60%. the majority of americans support marriage a quality. it shows how a process is being made and it may not have been this way if some people had not fought it. host: john joins us on the phone. caller: wanted to know if the center of american progress was so involved in a right -- gay rights for marriage.
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most of my republican fans believe that being gay is a choice. i know that they bought been candid it says that. some say it is not a choice. i know there is no way that is a choice. is there any study i could use to back of my claims what i argue with the republican friends of mine saying this is not a choice, they would not put themselves through that? i see what coness meant bachman is trying to do with that group.
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where is the information to back that up? host: as a republican, do you believe in gay marriage? caller:bsolutely. they should have every right that we have. if they are in a loving relationship, they have every right that we do, insurance issues, except rep. marriage is a state thing, not a religious thing. from a religious point of view, i can see people with moral obligations. as far as the constitution, marriage, it should not matter. gut: indiana has a couple of
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really great points. not just in new york or maryland or across the country, independent and republicans arm -- are moving more to support gay marriage. they are choosing which marriages to recognize and which ones not. you pay into the social security system on your life and you happen to marry your gay partner, you should be able to get those benefits. several of the witnesses talked about the real financial implications of the denial of benefits that they have on their families. they feared losing their homes, because they were denied their benefits. this kind of inequity is wrong.
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michele bachmann talked about whether fiscal engagement is a choice or not. organizations look at mental health issues, the psychological association, psychiatric association, sexual orientation is not a choice. it is something you are born with. the center for american progress is a progressive think tank here in washington that works on a range of issues, economy, health care, and so we do a lot of work on research studies having to do with gay, lesbian, transgendered communities. host: any suggestions as to
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where the caller can go to find out more? guest: the american medical association, the scientists are charged with being at work and can be found on the website. st: gay marriage, a state's rights issue. one person signed with the approval of a gay marriage. perry has been weighing a presidential run says he opposes gay marriage but is a firm believer of the 10th amendment. your reaction to that? guest: it a state chooses to pass same-sex marriage, and they should go ahead and do it. i take issue with governor. that that is fine for the york
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or the district of columa to have marriage equality forame- sex couples. the problem is federal benefits are denied to those couples. they do not have access to the benefits that come with marriage. you are died federal benefits. the federal government picking into choosing how they receive these benefits is wrong. host: independent scholar, trenton, new jersey. caller: i am in a bi-national l g b t relationship. i have the opportunity to get married, it means nothing in the federal government, because they do not recognize my relationship with my partner.
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so i cannot have of my partner as my spouse like any other straight couple. it is very frustrating wh seeing all of this progress, and yet, for me, it would be horrible for us to get married, unless we did something illegal, which we do not want to do. we cannot be together. that is the bottom line. what is being addressed right now? there is some legislation on trying to get rid of doma. guest: it is a great question. it is one of the benefits that comes with marriage and that you can be treated like other heterosexual couples that get married and your spouse is treated as a citizen.
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it is one of the problems that comes with the denial of federal benefits. others will address this issue. i do not think the legislation will pass anytime soon. one of the challenges is the falies are torn apart. they want the same rights and benefits and responsibilities as other couples, and they are denied because of their sexual orientation. host: boehner says he wants to defend the defense of marriage act. guest: the control of the house of representatives in republican hands poses a huge problem.
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there is a respect for marriage act -- there are other ways and avenues the country into the nation, addressing the question of same-sex marriage, there is a court case out of california involved with proposition 8 that hits two former antagonistic now as protagonists and have now joined in a marriage equality case out of california. there are other cases that are challenging to the defense of marriage act as well. host: what do you see the significance of between what a legislature does, and governor does, and what the voters say?
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how significant is it in a state does not want to see same-sex marriages in a popular vote? guest: what you have seen over time, the republican and democrat independent legislators that voted for same-sex marriages in 2008, prop. 8 was passed with a huge disappointment for marriage a quality. times have changed in the three years or so. generally in this country, the rates of minority are not put up for popular vote and those rights are mostly left to the courts. we see in california that the courts will remedy the situation. host: gainesville, florid
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caller: there have been great ma.rings right now on dolm the republicans are now saying something that is a gimmick to keep people aware of it and give the idea that they're all for rights of the people, because there is a loophole. it kindf made my point right now that 60% of americans are for recognizing marriage for whoever it is. i do not think it should be left up to the public and brings up the issue with civil rights. it should be evident in proposition 8. as we look back in history in
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slavery, the rights of peopl would not have ended in this country if -- they need to be represented as equals in this country. it is kind of a foolish to say we are finally getting the majority of people and it needs to be dealt with as an equal rights issue. guest: i think the courts will ultimately decide in california in the prop. 8 case. there are multiple strategies used in this fight. we got to work on the court of public opinion, the legislature, i think the
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caller's point about the situation is useful. if you look back in 1967,hen e decision was handed down into struck down the loss that prevented the black and white people from getting married, 70% of the american people, were opposed to the supreme court's decision. they still thought african- americans and whites should not marry. these are issues that should not be put up to it -- that should be put up to the people to decide. host: take a listen to public policy president, talking about the implications of the defense ofarriage act.
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take a listen. >> the section two is that section of doma that excuses state from being required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. these are the states that have overwhelmingly determined what marriage is. overwhelmingly, they had voted for that. same-sex marriages performed elsewhere will have to be recognized in those states that have determined that marriage is what it has always been. force political correctness, which can get downright nasty. host: what do you think about
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is concern over a backlash for people that do not believe that marriage should be opened up to same-sex couples guest: when you take a look at the states that have merit on the books for same-sex couples, mass. for example -- they had it on the books for seven years. where is theacklash, this notion that there has to be political correctness? we have not seen it, the anticipated from the proponents of same-sex marriage, the notion that a heterosexual marriage will suddenly fall apart. none of those horror stories happenedhen you take a look at
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vermont, or connecticut or the district of columbia. i want to remind people to look at the facts when they are in gear that this will be for political correctness or that somehow traditional marriages will be undermined. it just does not happen. host: a piece called the chilling of our first amendment rights where people who are against gay marriage are getting some pullback facing discriminatory actions toward them. how did you make sure there is a dialogue that has a tone -- are you concerned about the tone of the dialogue? one might argue that the tables are turned and many supporters of gay rights are ridicule and
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have notaced discrimination themselves? guest: the issue of marriage equality for same-sex couples is not an easy one for everyone. it is about a journey into the american public grappling with a new issue for a lot of people. that is ok. i disagree with maggie gallagher over the other witnesses from last week from those that oppose same-sex marriage equality. they are entitled to their opinions and their journey on this issue, as we have seen with many people. look at the president, evolving in this issue. at the end of the day, the american people are fair, equal, and do not want to see themselves discriminated against.
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we will get to the right place. i am not fearful of this debate, because i have great faith in the country. st: the president has talked about his position on gay- rights game marriage devolving. one person said my opinion has not evolved. i am not there yet. does that imply that there is more of an acceptance on this position? guest: evolution is about moving forward. this country is about moving forward. i confident that we are getting in the right place. when looking at the polling and the different constituents, far more young people support same-
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sex marriage ban used to. people's views are evolving as re people are coming out and they are bng out as couples raising children. but marriage provides a lot of security the gay and lesbian couples. as neighbors understand that friends around the block happen to be gay, have kids, and are sending to children -- sending a message to their children, they want the same kind of coverage. host: moore, oklahoma. how are you doing this morning? caller: good, thank you. to me, this is aut survivor rights. social security, and t survivor rights of unemployment. i think this is a money issue
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more than anything else. the gay and lesbian comnity has the right to enter into other legal contract, cd's, cars, housing, and they can even adopt children. i do not feel like i have to pay for them to enjoy the rights that i have as a married couple. guest: social security is certainly in the news these days in the debate about capitol hill strengthening it to shore up entitlements goes to the caller's concerns ensuring that social security and other benefits will be there for all us when we retire and need them for our children. it is the same for a gay and lesbian couple. it is just not rightor them to pay and to the social security system for their entire lives and then not be able to receive the survivor benefits that they
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deserve. again, last week's hearing had a couple of stories and witnesses of people who had paid into the system their entire lives and were denied at the death of their spouse. thousands and thousands of dollars, and in this economy, we all kn those dollars are desperately needed for families around this country. denying them to a gay and lesbian couple simply because of who they are is wrong and will change. st: detroit on the independent line. welcome. caller: think this comedowns to semantics. what is marriage? where did it originate? it is a rigious institution. calling it "marriage," i heard a gate and lesbian -- a gay and lesbian say you could "marry" sauces but not oil and water.
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the natural state is heterosexual and it promotes the propagation of society's and families. when the unnatural communities want to call it "marriage," people are fed and then when they know the origination of the marriage is in god's institutions of a one-man, one woman, becoming one to promote society and grow a population. host: what do you think of civil unions instead of ung the word "marriage/" caller: i think the whole gay and lesbian, they call it progress. what are we progressing too? you want to call it "marriage" and perverted, take it away from
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where its original purpose and want to call gays and lesbians marry? it makes no sense. guest: marriages an institution that is one of the bedrocks, not just of american society, but of a civilization. is an institution that the gay and lesbian community wants to join. over 100 degrees sweltering heat in new york, gay and lesbian couples from all over the state wanting to join this institution to take care of their families. that is what marriage is about. the caller raises the point that marriage is at least two things. there is a contract, the rights, benefits, and responsibilities, that go to a couple when they are married. it can also be, although there
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does to become a religious element to marriage. but you look at the language signed by gov. cuomo or the other legislation is pending, there is nothing in the legislation or ballot measures that says a religious institution or a person ofaith has to perform a marriage for a same-sex couple. that is just not true. the rights, benefits come and responsibilities that flow through marriage and then there is the religious part. no one is saying that anyone in a church, andoscow, or in a tumble last perform -- a mosque or a temple. host: winnie stachelberg is with the center for american progress. something else that is being talked about now is for gay men and women to serve openly in the
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military. we saw some news on friday. talk this through what is happening. guest: the president, the new secretary of defense leon panetta, and the joint chiefs of staff certified the military to say that the repeal of don't ask, don't tell, in other words having openly gay people serving will not hurt recruitment and will make the best military in the world stronger. we will continue to fight for our defense. what that certification was predicated on was legislation that was passed by congress last december in 2010 overwhelmingly, republicans and democrats coming together under the leadership of senator lieberman, congressmen patrick murphy, speaker pelosi, steny
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hoyer, and others. being gay and serving in the military does not hurt recruitment or retention. it repeals a law that was signed 17 years ago. last friday was the certification and the results of the military extensive training of all of the military of what open service means for the military themselves. certification happens now and there is a 60-day waiting period. on september 20th, 2011, the repeal will be final and service members will be able to serve openly. host: let's look amarine general hummer. >> statements about sexual orientation will no longer be a bar to military service. we will no longer separate
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service members under don't ask, don't tell. former service members formally discharged may reapply for reentry. with regards to the recessions of openly gay or lesbian service members will be evaluated to the same standards as all other applicants. host: marine general hummer. our guest, winnie stachelberg, is with the center for american progress where she oversees the lesbian, gay, and trans-gender project. arlington, virginia, democratic caller. good morning. caller: thank you. thank you, ms. stachelberg. i am a gay military officer. my partner is also in the military. to what extent do you think of the repeal of don't ask,on't
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tell was to repeal doma? we cannot be stationed together and so forth, but when i was going through the training i asked this question of the jag officer. we are forced, as military peop come to make the choice between perjury and fraud. if i fill out a form asking for marital status and i married in a state where it was legal, i could collect federal entitlements, which would be fraud, so i have to write "single" and i am legally married. it does not seem like a good choice to have to make a choice between fraud and perjury. guest: the caller's question goes to the heart of the debate
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of round don't ask, don't tell when admiral mullen said at a hearing that it undermined the integrity of the united states military because it forced are brave men and women to lie. that is not what our military is about and so that will change. the repeal, when it finally happens in the repealas significantly improved and it changed the discussion for same- sex couples. you can see how in polling increase for support for same- sex couples has grown around the repeal of don't ask, don't tell. it showed the gay and lesbian community as it is, brave men and women in the military, neighbors, parents, family members.
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and that is why i'm not nervous about the discussion and going up against proponents of same- sex marria. the debate around don't ask, don't tell and its final appeal will be good for the debate around same-sex marriage quality. your question about filng out these forms is exactly right. i caution you not to fill them out as honest as you should until september 20th, 2011, but the problem is if you were stationed in massachusetts and you were married, n.y., or any other locality that has marriage quality, you would still be denied those benefits because of the defense of marriage act. that is why the defense of america act will fall. but the denial of benefits for our brave men and women who are fighting, the denial of benefits who rely on survivor
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benefits, health insurance, pension funds is wrong and that is what the defense of marriage act does. it denie them to american citizens. this country should not be about picking which marriages should be recognized and which ones should not. host: david in columbus, ohio. welcome. caller: i think i can shed some light on some of the confusion concerning the opponents of gay activism and their lifestyle. i think most people, including myself, would have no problems with several uons and things like that. where it comes down to is i think we can accept it, but you are asking us to approve of it. there is a difference. i think imarriage," was the caller from michigan that said we are scared to death
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that churches will be sued because they will not perform marriages today parties because that is against their beliefs. -- marriages for gay parties because it is against thetir beliefs. host: from twitter -- guest: civil unions denied the federal benefits. the symbol of unions that were in vermont before it passed in connecticut, you were denied federal benefits. the defense of marriage act denies them forveryone, so even if you have a state- sanctioned marriage, this federal benefits are denied. a civil union is not the same as a marriage, not only in the board, but the benefits conferred on to the couple. that is the real problem.
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i just want to address something else the caller raised. it is again why i am optimistic for marriage quality -- eqauuality. the gay and lesbian community and our allies are not seeking support. quite frankly, they're not even seeking approval. what the gay and lesbian community is seeking a lack of opposition. when you take a look at, again, the states that have had marriage equality were the gay and lesbian community has received marriage licenses, the caller's concern about lawsuits for churches nonperforming same- sex marriages, it just has not happened. while, again, i want to say this is new for a lot of people and that is okay to raise these issues which makes perfect sense, which is what our country
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was founded on, debate and democracy. when you look at the state where there is currently same-sex marriage, the anticipated problems do not pan out. churches are not being sued and the institution of marriage is not, at all, undermined. host: last caller. good morning. caller: i have been in in a lesbian relationship for 35 years and i have contributed to my relationship, my family, and their needs. i do not mean just my immediate family. my question is what is being done to educate the public in the decency of these relationships and the contribution to this society th gays and lesbians do make every single day of their lives? we have teachers in my community, judges, lawyers, engineers, doctors, people who
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have had these relationships for years, and years, and have been forced by an irrational majority to keep their lives in secret, to lie to their parents and friends and to pretend that they are something that they're not. what are you doing to educate the public? i think you're doing a wonderful job, but i would like to know what is being done in these communities to go out there and show that marriage is meant to be for people who love each other and want to enter into a contractual relationship with each other? host: what would it mean for y to be able to get married? caller: to be able to share my life with other people who are my family and friends. it would be a statement.
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it is a testimony to what a life committed to each other and all the things that we've worked for. our retirement, social security. we have had to find alternate ways to protect our wealth, t work we have done for years, to enter into contracts, corporations, things that do not mean anything other than what marriage is fundamentally, which is a contract between two people to love each other and to protect each other in this long journey that we call life. guest: i could not have said it any better. shows like this on c-span, calls like yours, the strength that you and your partner, your family have, people coming out and telling their stories. that is why i think the debate about a marriage of equality, the debate about repealing don't ask, don't tell, the debate about discrimination act where it is perfectly legal to fire someone because of their sexual
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orientation with no recourse, this debate is so important to raise the issues to an able the gay, lesbian, and trans-gender community to talk about what is at stake, the inequality, the differences between a civ union and a marriage. this is not about forcg religious institutions in any way. this is the debate we need to have. the hearing last week with the judiciary committee, the debate in new york that got ugly at times and had people protesting in albany, all of these things are what brings s this country clos
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bair nationalists, but they have many demands that would like to be implemented soon. >> did you try to meet with them? >> i met with many factions of them.
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they are excellent. every group or every person has an agenda. they have demands and is absolutely -- no government in the world can deal with all these contradictory demands. we are trying. he have enough patience to deal with them and we are committed until this moment not to fire on any egyptian people under any circumstance. >> let me turn to the elections. we were intrigued. my understanding is that you've taken a long time to get the
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electoral rolls developed. there is a commission that is now about the issue of reports and had some preliminary ideas that you will have, a combination of party lists and individual candidacies, and so forth. as a political scientist, i can tell you there is no single right way. but you are choosing a model that was used in the palestinian elections in 2006. that model produced a victory for hamas, because it plays into the hands of the most disciplined groups. they do not fragment their votes on the individual risks the way that others did. you may be also choosing an electoral model with unanticipated consequences, one of which could be a fairly
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strong showing by the muslim brotherhood. does this concern you as you go into this stage of a parliament which will be responsible for sending up the constitutional drafting process and getting the new institutions in place? or is the outcome, as long as it is free and fair elections, it does not concern you. >> let me tell you about this secretly. [laughter] we already had a draft of the law of election. many lawyers and many people who are working in democratic institutions were working on this draft. we already are arranged the
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national debate on the draft in order that have the political factions. we have already had feedback and i can tell you that the first draft, the list will have one- third in the people will have two thirds. but then we issued a second draft. and they lower the age from 30 years to 25 years in order to let you share in the public alike, because they ran the revolution. we also mentioned the committee
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of the election will be only 100 people. >> for the constitution. >> the committee responsible about the election -- >> to oversee the election. >> and some has been reduced. but the main points of half and half is we are worried it would be -- it would be not from the constitutional court. maybe some objection if we
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exceeded half and half, and represented as not equal rights for those individuals. we let the members of the parties to be nominated for the individuals and the lists, also. you also tell the position that half the members of parliament should become peasants or worker backgrounds. that is not part of the old constitution? >> we left this into the new constitution because the country nowadays, we cannot afford more problems from the workers and farmers. in the new constitution, the new parliament which would be elected from all of the people of egypt, we will see if they can change so they have the
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right to change. >> you decided on no international monitors. >> we are dealing now with the election laws. you cannot respond never. many opinions are in the direction and we tried to respond on some. all the parties and groups have had a chance to respond. >> yes. and we are worried if there is an objection from the court of the constitution, it would make great problems, because this parliament will issue the constitution. and the president would be
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elected through their laws. it would be a great problem for the country. to have objections from the constitutional court. and for monitors, we are ready to receive any monitoring from egypt, and also the far end visitors can visit egypt, but not on the basis of monitoring or observing or something like that. let's move on to get to a couple more topics before you open it up more broadly. during the revolution one of the slogans heard frequently is that the people in the army were one hand.
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there have been demonstrations criticizing the military now. is something beginning to change in that unity? >> no, we have to appreciate from the last regime and the current regime. we're not dictators. we're seeking to proceed with authority. we would like to expedite the transitional period. it is a great burden on our soldiers, the transition period. we have no ambition to continue. we have been adopting all the demands of the people, while the former president was in his office. and if this revolution had
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failed, would be our future? -- what would be our future? what he would do with us, we did not think about that. it is a quite different situation. we are in a transition period and we would like to focus and -- in successful ways. we would like to fulfill the demands of the people as much as possible according to the challenges that we have. you will find, and i'm not saying because i am a member of the supreme council, but you will find a majority of people supporting the supreme council. and those groups are very minor. we're expecting them, because they are egyptians.
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we will not go to those severe measures. they have the right to demonstrate. they have the right to speak, but not the right to [unintelligible] to destroy our interests. they left the main government square for some days. it is not revolution. they threatened to block the suez canal. could you imagine? they threaten to block the underground. -- what it would be to the international community? but despite all the statements and behavior, we did not have
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the measures. -- severe measures with them. >> you mentioned foreign interventions. you mentioned the april 6 group in critical terms. you did not mention which country was intervening. would you like to tell us what you had in mind? >> yes, yes. [laughter] [applause] i would like to tell you. we have loans to buy money to egypt. -- to provide money for ngos in egypt. >> are those laws being followed? >> yes, we have a problem in this regard. there are some countries violating laws in egypt. we are worried about the borders -- foreign funds coming
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in from outside egypt, from the europeans, from the americans, from the arabic states. all of the egyptian people are nationalists. we would like to have support, but not to have interference. we have laws to be obeyed. >> unless it comes from the pakistan isi. >> thank you for this example. >> we have money going to the ngo's who have rejected it.
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>> registered. >> according to our laws. we have an organization here in the united states helping egypt to manage elections. we're giving some money to the justice and interior ministers. they are welcomed. mr. sweeney is all over egypt. it is a matter of sovereignty, to have some money from abroad [unintelligible] not egypt only can accept that. >> i would ask two more questions and then we will turn it over to steve.
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you mentioned that you and your colleagues are ready to go back to your professional jobs as military men. eager. >> that is correct. >> since 1952 the egyptian military has played a fairly prominent role in egyptian life. you cannot say that it has only played a military role but it has played a military and political role since 1952. and right now you're playing one of your most important roles in your history. if the project works, new parliament, new president, and we are on a new track toward democratic egypt, which many of us here very much hope will happen, what kind of role will the military still play? there are two models that i have in mind.
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one is turkey in the 1980's, the markets have return, but the military looks over the privileged outlook for stability and oversees the constitutional order, just in case things get out of hand. and that is now being contested in turkey as they try to regard -- revise the constitution. the other model is the military purely in control. the citizen government comes in, says we are now in charge, and you actually take orders from us. which do you think we will see two to three years from now? >> i can answer you in different ways. staff and all of the -- definitely the constitution, the
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new constitution of egypt, it will define the role of the armed forces. who will be responsible about the constitution? the new parliament will form the new constitution. it would be responsible to draft the constitution and offer it to the people of egypt in a referendum. and then if the people of egypt accepted this new constitution, it will be ok. [unintelligible] if they give the army some responsibility, welcome. you have noticed there is major change has happened in egypt. never will ever turn back to the past.
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-- never will get turned back to the past. i like to assure you in this regard that we're not an extension of the last regime. the egyptian armed forces, we are owned by the egyptian people. and we're proud of that. and we would like to be ready to play everybody. -- any role the people of egypt asked us. >> the last question i have is on farm policy. -- foreign policy. three foreign ministers since the new regime. there were early indications when my friend was foreign minister, during one foreign minister that there would be some changes, the opening toward gaza encouraging palestinian unity, even hints that relations with iran might change.
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in the other two toward israel might be cooler. he has moved onto other things. i do not know the current foreign minister. but in terms of foreign policy, d.c. that egypt will be in a -- you see that egypt will be in a position of continuity with its foreign affairs or are you trying to bring your farm policy -- foreign policy more in line with his public expectation? this is an area where you are still in charge. in that context, tell us about u.s.-egypt relations? >> let me start with the last. in the united states and egypt's relationship, we have a very strong, strategic relationship that started --
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[unintelligible] -- signing the camp david accords. now we have a marvelous relations. we considered it a cornerstone of the entire relationship between the united states and egypt. we had been supported by others, and i would like to see this proximity, and thank you for your support for egypt, and we are proud to be an important element in the national security of the united states. and we're proud that our contribution to the united
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states is tremendously important. it is a two-way relationship. on the full respect for the american military and i do believe that we have the same respect from the american military to the egyptian military. we have a good relationship but in the ups and downs, it is normal, but we are sustaining excellent relationships. in my visit every year, i have the objective to expand and enhance this excellent relationship. that is with respect to the united states. with respect to other commitments, i would like to
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remind you that after one day of our responsibility, we assured to the international community that egypt is committed to all the agreements that we signed before. [unintelligible] especially the peace treaty with israel. i can tell you the pieces are strategic option. -- the peace is our strategic options. no change in this regard at all. please let me say something about the revolution in tunisia. -- the revolution in the media.
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it affected the media so much in many of the issues including the foreign relations in egypt. with respect to iran, we have an ambassador in bahrain. -- we have an iranian ambassador in egypt and we have an egyptian ambassador in tehran. one ambassador and another for the islamic conference. [unintelligible] i assure you that despite all allegations appeared in the media and with with a crossing, no change also. that crossing had been opened by turkey about one month in
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june 2010. no change in that crossing. you cannot find any change in our foreign relations. but i would like to assure that our transition period from the people and democracy, they had to listen to the public opinion, and you will not find one person in egypt to convince him and to take a decision you would like to take.
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you will find, inshallah, a democratic country in the international community, and we ask you to consider these changes not only in egypt but to examine all the issues, especially the palestinian issue and the syrian issue and the lebanon issue. israel has to comply with this. >> thank you very much for your conversation and we will turn it over to steve now. [applause] >> let me thank you for getting us off to a tremendous start. not 500 questions here, but 37.
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we face a bit of a dilemma. begin either answering one question every 15 seconds, or i have tried to combine the questions. i hope we will understand if i do not get to all of them. i think it really is a testament to a level of interest that your visit generates that we have this number of questions to pose to you. there is an extraordinary focus right now on egypt, and a certain level of concern and skepticism about some of the decisions and practices that have defined the work of this. -- the work of scaf.
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you are used to facing tough situations and i hope that that spirit will continue as we began with some of the questions from the audience. i want to start with the question. we are always deferential, even when we are expressing sharp criticism. you do not need to be concerned about that. professor quandt asked about the constitutional process. let me continue with another question on constitutional development. we have heard a variety of different perspectives from members of this about the role of the military and the design of the constitution. rather than pursue that issue directly, aren't there any redlines concerning the constitution that the military is particularly concerned about
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and will take steps to ensure are not crossed in the constitution as designed? and if so, what are those redlines? >> i ask you to trust me and believe me. the new constitution is the responsibility of the coming parliament. it will be freely elected from the people of egypt. we do not know about the contents of the new constitution. we're hoping to have full democracy in our country and have a new era in the history of egypt, to build our civilization and to put egypt on
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the appropriate way forward, we hope. >> another subject of significant interest concerns the forthcoming parliamentary elections now scheduled to take place in november and the role of international observers in those elections. again this is surface, but i have a question that presents this concern from a slightly different perspective. i would just read the question from my colleague here. you've stated as such that an observer team would be a violation of egyptian sovereignty. why? far from undermining sovereignty, many observers in indonesia and other countries have been welcomed by opposition parties because their
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presence strengthens the integrity of elections and can in doing so strengthen national sovereignty. u.s. allows and facilitates on election observations. we have monitors in the united states. why would that not fit egyptian democracy and sovereignty to break with that path and work with foreign election observers? [applause] >> i would like to thank him for his question. i would assure him that the supreme council is committed to free and fair elections. it is the commitment to our people in egypt. this gentleman has the right to
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ask, but we also have the right to have our position. >> if the supreme council received requests from international observers from local organizations, would you allow that? >> sure, the local organizations are welcome. monitors, not observers. they can visit the election facilities and see with their own eyes. >> during the uprising in january that ended with the departure of hosni mubarak, women in egypt played a particularly visible role. and the uprising has been seen
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as an opportunity to integrate women into the political arena in egypt in a much more comprehensive fashion than in the past. we have a question from amnesty international. many in the human-rights community are concerned with the dire lack of political participation in inclusion of women in egypt's transition process. can you discuss the possibility of implementing mechanisms to ensure full gender equality and constitutionally guaranteed participation? >> in the last election, we put conditions that it had to contain one woman. no changes in this regard. we are encouraging the woman to
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participate. we are in a transition period. we have lots of challenges. we would like to transfer the country to a democratic country. we have a lot of challenges to face and a lot of work to be achieved. so we're not aiming to undermine women in egypt. we have a problem in egypt that in every house, you have dictatorships. from our women. [laughter] we are suffering that dictatorship. >> i suspect some of the women in our audience are not giving you a great deal of support.
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>> no, in egypt. >> one of the aspects of the role of the military in egyptian society that has come under most scrutiny in the last five months is its economic role and its economic interests. the measures that the egyptian military might take to protect its economic interests. how question from the egyptian american association for change. it is a three part question. would the military council object to a constitution that would give the parliament power to assign the budget of the military, monitor military expenditures, and prevent the military from running businesses, and subject the military to parliamentary financial oversight? >> i'm sure he did not listen to my answer.
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we have no business about drafting the constitution, the constitution the members of the coming parliament will have. i would like and to try to include what they would like to include. the egyptian forces are owned by the egyptian people. we are ready to play any role, anything in that institution. >> i will interpret that as a yes. [unintelligible] >> i understand. it is the business of becoming government and the coming elected president and become an
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elected parliament and becoming constitution. it is not the business of the armed forces. >> another area in which we have received a lot of questions and concerns the orientation of the staff toward the protesters -- scaf toward the protesters themselves. there have been demands expressed within egypt to hold the staff itself accountable for -- hold scaf itself accountable for violence during the uprising, especially on january 28. will the staff support a process -- will scaf support process for bringing the perpetrators of violence against protesters to account for their behavior? >> we did not used -- please repeat the question. >> there is a perception among observers of egypt's uprising
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that violence directly toward protesters was sanctioned. this is an opportunity to correct that perception. if that is right, will be senior military leadership support efforts to hold those perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions? [speaking arabic] >> at the first moment of our responsibility -- >> in january. >> i mean in the 11th of
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february. we adopted the principle of rules of law. we are not interfering in the judicial process. all these measures have been taken by the egyptians -- the egyptian judicial system. we are not interfering at all. we are not interfering with respect to who killed the protesters, who is responsible for corruption. everything is managed according to our laws without any interference. it is enough. >> thank you very much. >> you mentioned several times this afternoon, and officials
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have also indicated in other statements, that you are eager to hand over power to civilian government as quickly as possible. a question from an egyptian ph.d. student at georgetown university. why does the council continue to refuse to hand over power to a civilian controlled presidential council, as called for by the majority of the political community and revolutionaries? will you entertain that option, now the opposition is again protesting in pursuit of those goals? >> i doubt he knows the result of the referendum on the 19th of march. 77% were supporting this.
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if you visit egypt now, you will see a lot of minorities and you will see the majority of the egyptian people are supporting scaf. we are not seeking to proceed. we are not dictators. we are not the continuation of the regime. we would like to finish the end of the transition period. we are complying with the majority of the egyptian people. >> just one more question about the relationship between scaf and the opposition. it concerns the april 6 movement and is posed by a journalist up for "the national
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journal -- >> scaf members have encouraged the youth movement -- have accused the youth movement of accepting u.s. funds, yet scaf excepts $3 million in u.s. aid annually. how do you explain the discrepancy in these positions? [applause] >> i prefer to have no comment on the situation. -- this question. [applause] but i would like to tell you that we are respecting any spending in egypt through legal ways. if anybody, any person in the world, can accept any money to enter through his country through a legal way, tell me -- through illegal ways, telling
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why. it is normal for any government in the world to stay committed to the interests of its people, to keep the legal ways concerning the money, the funds. as i tell you, the foundation supported the election in egypt. they are spending american money to support the election process. those have legally been registered to the state department. they are working in full respect. if some money can be supported -- supplied to some ngo's from foreign agencies that have not done this according to egyptian
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law, you are not welcome. i am saying that we are dealing with only the foreign funds coming from europe, from arab countries, and from arab states. >> let me check topics a little bit. there were a number of questions on a variety of issues we have not yet addressed. i would like to give the general a chance to comment on them. someone from "the philadelphia inquirer" asks whether someone is concerned about the potential majority in parliament? >> the muslim brotherhood -- i am following what is going on in the american media and the arab media.
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there are a lot of speculations in this regard. i would like to tell you, i asked january 25, as we are adopting the rules of law, we cannot ignore any section of the -- any faction of the egyptian people. the muslim brothers and other groups are components of the egyptian people. it cannot be ignored. the last regime had taken a lot of measures against them. they put them in prisons. they dealt with them with very severe conditions. but we say the muslim brothers and other groups, if they are committed to the rules and to
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become -- and to the constitution of egypt, they have right to practice and enter into the political life. by this action of the scaf, they are changing in better conditions. they submitted a request to have their party. the committee of the parties approved their party because that are not adopting religious content. they are not seeking to have a religious country. the of seeking to have the same -- they have to have the same rights as all egyptians. our belief is that the measures of the mubarak regime with the muslim brothers gave some more
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credibility than they deserved. i tell you that recently, one or two months, there were elections in the student union in cairo university, about 20 persons, maybe less than. their volume in each of this not -- their volume in egypt does not exceed 25 persons, maybe less. but at the end of the day, we cannot ignore anyone who is committed to the law. we cannot cancel any faction. we are a new era. we have major change in egypt. i would like to tell you that day by day the muslim brothers are changing, are getting on a
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more moderate track. that are willing to share in the political life. they are among many parties and many defense. -- in many instances, they are sharing in a good way. the assuring them in a good way. we cannot prevent any faction of the egyptian people to share their political life. >> i have just one more question. you have answered some tough questions already. i saved the toughest one. you may know that the state department is right across the street. mary beth sheridan of "the washington post" asks you to address the following. how does the scaf view the role of the west, and a secretary clinton in particular, during the uprising?
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>> [speaking arabic] we are going out to have a meeting. in the state department. [laughter] >> we would be interested in any preview you would like to give us. >> i would like to tell you that over the last 32 years we have had very good friends in the american and in the american congress and american think tanks. as i said, in politics, there are ups and downs. but in general, we have a strategic relationship and ties. we see that the united states
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is valuable to egypt. we are confident that also egypt is valuable to the united states. >> thank you very much. general, you have been generous with your time, with your thoughts. even though some in the audience continue to have certain things -- concerns about scaf, i would like to ask them to join me in thanking you for your time. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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[unintelligible] >> white house debt ceiling in budget talks reached a stalemate this weekend. senate majority leader harry reid unveiled a plan to cut $2.7 trillion from the budget. we will hear from him and jeff sessions next on c-span. and then from president obama and john boehner. both made televised addresses last night on the debt. on today's "washington journal," an update on the debt ceiling bills in the house and the senate. dan burton who serves on the
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house foreign affairs committee and jan schakowsky will join us. then we will talk with bradford fitch. "washington journal" each morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. >> you are watching c-span, bringing you politics and public affairs. every morning it is "washington journal," our live call-in program about the news of the day, connecting you with elected officials, policymakers, and journalists. weekdays, watch live coverage of the u.s. house, and on weeknights, congressional hearings and policy forums. also supreme court oral arguments. on the weekends, you can see our signature interview programs. on saturdays, "the communicators," and on sundays, "newsmakers," "q&a," and prime minister's questions from the british house of commons. you can also watch our programming any time at c-span.org, and it is all searchable at our c-span video library. c-span -- washington your way, a public service created by america's cable companies.
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>> senate majority leader harry reid laid out his debt and deficit reduction plan. it takes $2.7 trillion in spending cuts which includes savings from the war in afghanistan and iraq. they spoke about the proposals for about 25 minutes. >> i have asked senator durbin and we had to do this because -- they are not here but they are on their way. i spent all weekend trying to work something out with the republicans. but instead of moving forward,
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we went backwards. here's one example. our spending this year for the military dropped $700 billion. that is more money for the military than all the rest of the country put together. so you would think in this debate that we're having that the pan again could chip in a few bucks to cut spending. secretary gates thinks that they can. this weekend, the republicans want to delay spending for the pentagon. in the matter that we have on the floor, they cut the program and of the next 10 years, models, something the pentagon can live with. but over the weekend, lo and behold, they want more money from the pentagon.
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so that what the wrong direction. they want to forces into debate on the exact same subject a few months from now. it is a nonstarter in the senate and the white house, and certainly in the -- that democrats and house agree with us or hardly. it has many of the same dire consequences that would be triggered by the default itself. as one market analyst said, today, there is a significant risk of a downgrade tiny cuts to another vote only a few months down the road. it appears to me the republicans are more interested in trying to embarrass the president and doing what is right for the country.
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-- than doing what is right for the country so we will bring to the senate floor a $2.7 trillion plan to put to rest of the country at ease with respect to this default. this proposal satisfied democratic core principles by protecting medicare, medicaid, and social security. and as the long-term debt ceiling extension that the markets are looking for. it needs the two major republican demands, no revenues and the amount of the tides meet the amount of the debt ceiling increasing. they wanted 141 that is what we're doing. now all the republicans have to do is say yes. unfortunately, the republicans who used to run the congress. they are being driven by the radical right wing that is so in
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tune with the tea party. they want their leaders to ignore the american people as they are doing. they want their leaders to ignore the business leaders like the chamber of commerce. even the majority of republicans around this country want something to happen and they are refusing to do that. they would rather cut social security benefits than in giveaways to millionaires and billionaires with corporate jets. we shall not let extremist ticktock -- dictate the outcome of this debate. the time free ideological -- 04 ideology will -- it that should in. we have to break away from those extremists that seem to be running the republican party in washington. senators schumer.
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>> thank you, and thank you for your leadership on this issue. it is unfortunate that the negotiations could not produce an agreement. despite the president's warning that he would veto any short- term plan, speaker boehner has refused to budge from his proposal. he is even going ahead with a vote in the house on this plan, though he knows it cannot become law. this is a dangerous waste of time. there are so few days between now and the deadline. by no mistake about it -- that to stash step a plan outlined by speaker boehner is a dodge. it kicks the can down the road. it resolves the debt ceiling only for the next few months and after that, we would be right back at square one all over again. as senator reid said yesterday, he can dress up his plan any way that he wants. it is simply a one step, short-
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term plan. just tell -- just look how difficult this crisis has been to resolve after a year of negotiations. does anyone think it would be a good idea to do this all over again in six months? the speaker's approach is not only wrong, it is dangerous. it wouldn't leave of cloud of default hanging over our heads for the next several months of undermining the confidence in the u.s. bond market. market analysts have rejected the speaker's approach, saying it could bring about some of the same bad consequences as the default itself. it could even cause a credit rating downgrade. christian cooper, a currency trading quoted by bloomberg news this morning, "from the market's point of view, 82-stage plan is a nonstarter. there is a significant risk of a downgrade with a deal that causes further cuts to another
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cut only a few months down the road given the significant resistance to do the right thing now." also, one of the most respected followers of these markets, the ceo up and go, expressed concern last night that, on " the political ground is being prepared for short-term sought compromise," and warned that this could you move the project lead the u.s. debt rating of an " extremely exposed to a damaging downgrade." that is not leader reid's words are my words or the democrats were. these are the experts in the market. even republicans rejected a short-term debt ceiling increase as recently as the last month. dave camp, "it does not give you certain date. ideally you like to get that settled and not have it continually hanging over." majority leader cantor,